In January, on summer holidays, I read Sam Fromartz's superb book 'In Search of the Perfect Loaf'. Fromartz chronicled his odyssey to bake better bread, including time learning from master bakers in France and the USA. Now, Fromartz was working with wheat flour, and he had access to some of the best! In the gluten free world getting flour can be difficult enough, to say nothing of getting different grades of flour. Working without gluten presents challenges that Fromartz didn't have to address, but the challenges he did address are instructive, even in the world of gluten free bread.
Enthused by his descriptions of bakeries, bakers and millers; by his descriptions of techniques and recipes I resolved to work at raising the quality of my own bread. What better way to do that than pursuing the perfect (gluten free) loaf.
It would be foolish to say I have achieved what I set out to achieve, but it would be accurate to say there has been significant improvement. I make baguettes with sourdough now, they are still long fermented, but that now includes a long autolyse cold fermenting. They are still made with home milled brown rice flour and fine millet flour made by tempering the seed before milling, and bolting (sifting) it afterwards to remove the coarse seed coat. This is a journey I am enjoying, both in the learning and the eating!
It is a few years since I work out how to make a bread with a soft crumb and a crisp crust that approximated a basic baguette. I was so excited with the first baguettes that I took them with cheese and wine as a picnic during an orchestral concert under the stars! While I was excited to add my baguettes to my repertoire I always knew there must be ways to improve them. So, here was the challenge: Could I improve the basic baguettes, made with home milled brown rice and fine millet flours, using a poolish and long fermenting techniques?